Trade conferences, seminars, and events are always on the list of any successful business’ annual allocation of expenses. Presence in these gatherings not only help the business stay updated, but more importantly keeps the business in potential partners’ and customers’ radar. If you are planning on traveling to your next conference, make sure to devote time in preparing for it in order to get the most out of the experience in terms of optimizing the time spent there and of course, maximizing your financial returns.
Clear your schedule. Strive to complete as many projects and/or deliverables as you possibly can before you leave. Delegate as needed. This is so you will not need to split your time away between the event and work back home. And while in the conference, be ready to allot time in the morning and evening of each day to address daily or pending matters.
Be app-ready and get your technology in order. Make sure you have easy access to all necessary digital information and applications that will help keep your trip organized and convenient. Maps, hotel/restaurant/parking finders, timekeepers, personal messengers, cloud folders, etc. are great to have. Of course, for these to work you will need your equipment powered and ready. Pack your laptop, tablet, smartphone, and of course, portable chargers and power banks. Finally, the good ol’ trusty pen and journal will come in handy for digital emergencies.
Read up on industry news. Get updated on current news about the industry from online and printed publications. You will want to succeed in being intelligently engaging in all types of conversations at the conference.
Develop your in-person and online content. Before leaving for the conference, put together a list of questions and conversation starters suitable for the seminars and events you will be attending. This helps facilitate your networking efforts as you connect with key players in the same industry. Consider broadcasting “as-it-happens” or end-of-day blurbs, photos, or video feeds via your online social media platforms like Facebook, Periscope, and the like. This keeps your customers back home confident that the provider they’ve chosen is abreast with improvements that will likewise benefit them down the line.
Master your game-plan.Make a “hit list” of people to connect with. Connect with panelists and attendees. Map out your conference schedule, organizing by time, location of events, and maximum benefit for your line of business. Be armed with business cards, portfolio, and brand material which will all aid you as you network throughout the conference. Perfect your elevator pitch and be prepared to throw them at the most opportune times. Remember to keep your “sales pitch” brief, on point, and spontaneous. Finally, if possible, schedule free time (at least an extra day) to explore the city.
Pack for comfort and style.Put together lightweight business-casual and business-formal ensembles to suit all events you plan in attending. Bring a smart-casual set for the after-hours socials with other conference attendees. Also, make sure the shoes you will bring will be sturdy but comfortable enough to withstand plenty of walking and standing. Look great and you’ll do great!
Business conferences will certainly throw you in the center of the whirl of activities – and well, it should. If you find yourself in the hub of things, then you are sure that you’ve made the most of it. You have maximized the ROI on your time and money put into it. You will have helped not just your own understanding of the industry you are in, but the future of your business, too.